Koobrthon 2017 — A look back at our team fitness challenge

Over the past eight weeks, we’ve been hitting the gym, tweaking our diets, and working together to improve our overall fitness and wellbeing as a team. But has all the hard work paid off? Here’s how we got on.

It’s seven in the morning (or 07:00 hours, if you’re really hardcore) and Team Koobr prepare for another busy Friday. But we’re not on our way into the studio just yet — oh no. You’d have to be crazy to turn up for work dressed in leg warmers and a bandana.

We’ve consumed our spinach, topped up our water bottles, and now we’re about to undertake another early morning group workout session at Columbo House gym. Welcome to the Koobrthon!

Partnering with Ellipse Health

For the past eight weeks, Koobr has been working in partnership with our good friends at Ellipse Health. The aim? To push ourselves physically and to see just how much we can achieve both individually and as a team.

“Everybody in the team already lives a fairly balanced lifestyle,” says Koobr’s Managing Director, Craig Barker. “We all eat pretty healthily, and we’re all actively involved in some form of regular exercise — whether that’s going to the gym, playing sports, or taking part in organised events within the community, including a successful participation in this year’s Derby Ramathon.

“So we thought it would be a great idea to combine our interests — along with our combined enthusiasm for getting into the best shape we possibly can be — and see how much it could benefit everybody. Not just individually but as a team also.”

Michael Pearce from Ellipse Health with Team Koobr outside our studio at Marble Hall.

Embarking on a transformational journey

Let’s rewind the clocks a couple of months: It’s the first Friday of our eight-week Koobrthon, and everybody is naturally apprehensive about what’s in store…

A 40-minute HIIT session (High Intensity Interval Training) that sees the group running, squatting, and pressing non-stop, punctuated only by a 30-second rest period between total completion of each circuit run.

Needless to say, it all comes as a bit of challenge. But it’s not long until we’re feeling energised for the rest of the day — as well as a massive feeling of accomplishment within the group as a whole.

“The benefits of corporate exercise extend far beyond the individual,” says Ellipse Heath’s Michael Pearce. “It brings energy and motivation that benefit the workplace as a whole.”

After we’ve worn ourselves out past the point of exertion, Michael gathers everybody together to stretch out and cool down before sharing some important nutritional advice that we’re all encouraged to implement into our day-to-day diets.

It’s important that every forward-thinking company does everything it can to ensure a healthy and happy work environment.

– Craig Barker, Koobr

For the next few weeks, we continue to refine our diets — reducing sugar and carbs and making a conscious effort to eat more fresh veg, essential fats, and protein.

In the studio, instead of milk and sugar in our coffee, we’re now taking coconut oil; something we offer our clients when they come to visit, but for whatever reason, they seem to politely decline.

Instead of bread, baps, and other ‘convenient’ lunches you would expect to see people eating at their desks, our lunch boxes are now packed with fresh salad, while sweet and salty snacks like chocolate and crisps are gone, replaced with bowls of nuts, fruit, and other healthier alternatives. No more fizzy drinks, Koobr is drinking water — lots of water — throughout the day.

When it comes to nutrition, we are a reformed team. And for many of us, this change in diet extends beyond the 9-to-5 and into our day-to-day diets as a whole.

Conquering Cycle Derby Sportive’s 40km Challenge

It’s now September and we’re more than halfway through our 8-week Koobrthon challenge. Every couple of weeks we are introduced to a new and more challenging circuit run, but we’re getting fitter and stronger, and whilst each session still presents its challenges, we’re progressing more and more as the weeks go by.

Our next phase of the challenge? Taking part in Cycle Derby Sportive’s grueling 40km bike ride around north Derbyshire.

Representing Team Koobr is Craig and Lee. Michael from Ellipse Health is also there to support them from the starting line, alongside our good friend Andrew Edmondson from Purely Digital.

Craig with Michael Pearce, with Andrew Edmondson from Purely Digital, and Craig and Lee after the race.

The 40km bike ride — organised by HUUB Events — took our two members of Team Koobr all the way from Derby’s Markeaton Park to Carsington Reservoir and back via a scenic route of winding country roads and majestic hills via Atlow, Hulland Ward, and Western Underwood.

Not only did they manage to complete this test of strength and endurance, but second-time participant Craig managed to beat his previous time and even finished up in the top ten — coming seventh overall.

“I came 27th overall last year,” says Craig, “and I wanted to finish somewhere in the top 20 this year. Finishing seventh overall just goes to show how far my fitness levels have improved after tweaking my diet and all the training we’ve been doing with Michael.”

“I’m extremely pleased with my own progression, but mostly I’m so proud of the progression and achievements made by the team as a whole. Seeing first-hand the positive changes in the group — in their fitness, their energy, and their motivation  I genuinely believe all forward-thinking companies should make it a firm responsibility to look after health and wellbeing of their employees.”

A look back at our journey

So here we are, right about where we started; eight weeks into our Koobrthon and about to walk into our final group training session at Columbo House.

Looking back at our journey, it’s easy to see how far we’ve come individually and as a whole. We’re now feeling healthier, brighter, and much fitter as a result. Most importantly, we’re much stronger a team.

Whilst we’ll continue to train and eat properly for our own personal reasons, it’s pretty fair to say that we’ll continue training together with Michael and keep getting healthier as a group in order to support and motivate each other towards our collective goals and ambitions.